Let the Triple-A All-Star Game voting begin

Fans help choose who takes the stage in Columbus on July 11

Michael Kopech and Alex Verdugo have never faced each other, but they've been teammates in two All-Star Games. (Dave Wegiel and Bobby Stevens/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | May 25, 2018 11:00 AM

Who is going to take their talents to Ohio?

The process to decide that started Friday morning with the opening of online voting for the Triple-A All-Star Game and will run through June 22. Players on the International and Pacific Coast League rosters will be determined by fans, local media and Triple-A managers. Those selected get to compete on July 11 in Columbus, home of the Clippers.

This year's ballot features 23 Top-100 prospects, led by No. 9 overall Michael Kopech. The top White Sox prospect has held foes to three earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts with Charlotte. Kopech is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 23 walks in 45 1/3 innings. His punchout total stands second only to Pawtucket's Jalen Beeks (Red Sox No. 15), whose 65 whiffs lead the level.

Vote for the Triple-A All-Star Game now!

Gwinnett's Kolby Allard (Braves No. 6) and Rochester's Stephen Gonsalves (Twins No. 2) showcase ERAs around 2.00, but it's Lehigh Valley's Enyel De Los Santos (Phillies No. 12) who has the current Triple-A lead with a 1.39 mark.

They could go up against the PCL's top hitters, including No. 30 overall prospect Alex Verdugo. The Dodgers' top position player prospect is hitting .301 with four homers and 18 RBIs for Oklahoma City. Verdugo will face plenty of competition in the outfield, though, with Fresno's Kyle Tucker (Astros No. 2), Memphis' Tyler O'Neill (Cardinals No. 3), Round Rock's Willie Calhoun (Rangers No. 2) and Nashville's Dustin Fowler (A's No. 5). Plus Salt Lake's Jabari Blash (Angels), who is among the top Minor League sluggers with 14 roundtrippers.

The IL brings the bats at first base with Durham's Jake Bauers (Rays No. 5), Lehigh Valley's Joey Meneses and Gwinnett's Carlos Franco. The PCL counters with Albuquerque's Ryan McMahon (Rockies No. 2).

Video: McMahon mashes second dinger for Isotopes

Perhaps the most interesting storyline of the vote might be Chris Carter. The designated hitter, who tops Triple-A with 43 RBIs, began the season with Salt Lake, but then the Angels traded him to the Twins, so he switched leagues and went to Rochester.

The IL also boasts Durham shortstop Willy Adames (Rays No. 2), Gwinnett third baseman Austin Riley (Braves No. 8), Indianapolis outfielder Austin Meadows (Pirates No. 2) and Toledo outfielder Christin Stewart (Tigers No. 10). No. 6 overall prospect Nick Senzel made the ballot, though, the Louisville third baseman has been battling bouts of vertigo.

El Paso's Luis Urias (Padres No. 3) and Nashville's Franklin Barreto (A's No. 3) will battle it out at second base in the PCL while Fresno's J.D. Davis seems like a lock at third base with his Triple-A-leading .417 average.

Although the PCL is known as a hitter-friendly league, the circuit still features some of the Minors' best pitchers, including Colorado Springs' Corbin Burnes (Brewers No. 2), Memphis hurlers Jack Flaherty (Cardinals No. 2) and Austin Gomber (Cardinals No. 11) and former St. Louis prospect Sandy Alcantara (Marlins No. 2), who will look to represent New Orleans.

Video: Memphis' Gomber whiffs his 16th batter

Fans can vote for each of the nine position players, a designated hitter, two starting pitchers and two relievers in each league, plus there is a write-in option. Each person can vote up to 25 times for his or her favorite players.

Vote early and often at milb.com/vote or milb.com/ballot!

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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